At this time of year, it seems right not to be entirely serious, so I thought a few moments of levity, even about funerals, might be permitted. Unless otherwise stated, they all relate to services I have conducted (with names changed, to protect the not-necessarily innocent!).
Although neither of these was ‘my’ funeral, I was tickled by the idea of the limo that turned up at the wrong address (Shades of “Monty Python & The Holy Grail”, and “I’m not dead yet!”)! Then the limo that arrived at the right address, only to find that the whole family were still in bed!
At a family visit, I learned that the deceased had been absolutely committed to Chelsea. Supporting them had virtually been his whole life. So, as we put the service together, I suggested “Blue is the Colour”, which is the Chelsea anthem. The family enthusiastically agreed.
On the day, having explained the reason, I asked the guests to open their Order of Service booklets to the page where the words could be found. “Please feel free to join in,” I said, “I certainly won’t, being a Tottenham supporter!”
I’m glad (for reasons that should now be obvious) that I didn’t have to conduct the service of an Arsenal supporter, not least because everyone seemed to be expected to don Arsenal shirts! There’s only so far I’m prepared to go!
I’ve only actually been asked to wear something special at a funeral once. This was for somebody known by everybody as “Greenie”, so the whole family were going to wear green, and would I do something too, please? Of course, I would.
On the day, I came suitably attired, and looked to see what the others were wearing.
Anything but green! Not one of them had any green!
What was that all about, then?!
Finally, Steve had decided – and I totally sympathise – that he wanted to save money. There would be no Order of Service, but he’d print up and distribute the words of “Amazing Grace”, which was to be our only hymn. He’d also record it and bring the CD (or whatever) with him.
That should have been fine.
So, at the appointed time, I asked people to rise and join in the singing. Unfortunately, without informing anybody, Steve had changed the recording to Elvis’. Not a problem in itself, but he had failed to check it. It turned out that the version was different and the words mostly did not correspond to those on his songsheet!
Not all my funerals are as much fun, of course! And, indeed, they can be poignant and moving too. Things DON’T normally go wrong. But they can have their lighter side, and that’s what I have been sharing with you.
I hope you’ve had a smile, and, however you may mark this season, I wish you all the best for the festivities.